Riverside High EMS teacher saves motorcyclist, passes life-saving skills on to students

Hank Hill doesn't just teach his kids about EMS; he puts his words into actions. He says Riverside HS's EMS courses help students become job-ready by graduation
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 12:52 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Riverside High School Health Sciences teacher Hank Hill says students in his EMS course, part of Greenville County Schools’ Career and Technical Education program, amaze him every day.

“It’s really rewarding to watch these kids just light up whenever they find that thing they just want to attach themselves to,” Hank told FOX Carolina. “Once we find that spark, the sky is the limit.”

“This looks great on a resume for those young people,” he added, “and the fact that they can earn this out of high school is phenomenal.”

Hill’s classroom boasts a full-scale ambulance model, where students can take courses EMS 1 and EMS 2. At the end of both, kids actually have the ability to get first responder certified by the time they leave high school.

“Our aim is to help them be able to walk right off the graduation stage and into a career earning a decent amount of money,” Hill explained.

He also says it’s a great tool for other career paths across the medical field, particularly those involving patient care.

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse, that’s kind of my calling,” said Riverside HS junior Emma Wright, one of Hill’s star students.

Wright says the life skills she’s taken away from Hank’s class are incredibly valuable for her future.

“I’ve learned CPR, I’ve learned first aid, I just passed my EMR certification, so it’s really a lot of useful things that can help in the community,” she told FOX Carolina.

But Hank doesn’t just teach; he puts his words into action.

“I walked up, saw a man lying in the road, just kind of there on his side,” Hill recounted.

Back in mid-April, Hank says he was driving home with his family when he came upon a man who had been hit by a car on his motorcycle.

His class had just covered an accident trauma unit.

“It was...almost a full circle,” Hank said. “Like I was just talking with my kids about this, and here I am on the side of the road kind of helping with this.”

Spartanburg County confirms a wreck occurred on Highway 29 that evening, and says Hank, along some other witnesses, helped keep the man involved stable until he was able to be transported to Spartanburg Regional by EMS.

“They were able to spend minimal amount of time on the scene,” Hill said, recalling how he used some of their equipment when first responder arrived.

Emma says her teacher’s bravery and humility after such a heroic act inspire her, and have helped cement her aspirations to be a nurse in a few years.

“I know that if I see Mr. Hill saving someone, that means anyone in his classes can do it too,” she said.

Next year, for the first time ever, Riverside will be offering an EMS 3 course, where students who sign up will be able to progress even further beyond first responder certification. If they’re successful, they’ll be able to be fully EMT certified by the time they walk across the stage.

It’s a course Emma says she plans to take her senior year to help her continue to pursue her dream career.